Vicksburg weighing trip to national 7-on-7 tournament

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vicksburg High wrapped up a great summer football season last week. Now it has to decide whether to attend one last party.

The Gators finished third at the Mel Kiper Jr. 7-on-7 state tournament last week in Brandon, giving them the right to participate in the national tournament July 14-16 in Chantilly, Va.

It’s a big opportunity for the team to see how it stacks up on a national stage, but it won’t be an easy trip. Travel expenses range from $2,000 to $4,000 for the team and are a major concern, coach Alonzo Stevens said. The tournament is scheduled to begin next Thursday in the suburb of Washington, D.C., and there’s not a lot of time for fundraising.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“I guess most of the teams would fly in, but if we do it, we’ll have to take vans or a bus. That’s still a lot. A hundred dollars a day for two vans for five to six days and all the gas,” Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said.

There will be a parents’ meeting at the school’s fieldhouse tonight at 6 to decide whether to make the trip. Players have partnered with local businesses to sell discount cards and Mississippi Elite Sports, which sponsored the state 7-on-7 tournament, will pick up some costs but not travel expenses.

“It’s a great honor to get this chance, but we are going to have to commit to it,” VHS assistant coach Michael Banks said.

Although Stevens feels his team could hold its own on a national stage, he was realistic about the challenges of putting the trip together.

“For us to go, the parents are going to have to help out,” Stevens said. “I’d love to see us go to the nationals, but it’s going to be hard in these economic times. With two Class 6A schools in this town and two private schools, we’re spread pretty thin.”

Even if the Gators opt not to attend the national tournament, they’ve enjoyed another successful 7-on-7 season. They finished second in a 32-team field at Mississippi State and posted a 27-7 record overall in four tournaments.

One of those events was their own River City Shootout on June 25. Quarterback Cameron Cooksey completed 15 of 16 passes for 160 yards as the Gators beat Yazoo City 32-14 in the championship game.